Name: David Smith
DOB: January 12, 1981
One thing has been certain with David Smith over his six year minor league career – and that has been his tremendous power numbers. Smith has increased his power every year with the organization and did so again this past year, his best with the Blue Jays.
Smith was drafted by the Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2002 draft, however, his impact was not immediately felt. The outfielder had a slow rookie campaign with Medicine Hat batting just .255 with two home runs. He was given a rapid promotion to Low-A Charleston of the South Atlantic League the following season and batter .243 with eight home runs. The following year he repeated Charleston and set a career high in strikeouts and home runs. In 436 at bats he struck out 119 times, while hitting 12 home runs. In 2005 he started the season with Dunedin and hit fourteen home runs in just 391 at bats, and last season hit a career high nineteen home runs in 483 at bats, while striking out 118 times. Smith has also increased his RBI total as well over his five minor league seasons.
One scout who has seen Smith play numerous times over the past two years has noticed a vast improvement in his approach at the plate since last season, and believes he's polished enough to handle the next and final level in minor league baseball.
"He's improved his plate awareness and has shown better instincts," over the last three months of the season. "He's a better player than he began the year as."
Smith set a career high with twenty-four home runs this season and missed his career high for RBI by just four, driving in seventy.
"He's one of the hardest workers in the organization," said Dick Scott, the Blue Jays Director of Player Development. Smith has also earned a spot at the Triple-A level for the 2008 season and will try once again to show his power and prove he can handle the highest level of the minor leagues.
Batting and Power: Smith ranks amongst the top five players in the system in raw power. He can hit for power against right-handers and left-handers, and has shown he has a consistent approach at the plate. The outfielder does have a high strikeout ratio, but it's in the normal range for a power hitter, and nothing that should be of great concern assuming he continues to hit for power. Smith has also worked hard over the years on improving his awareness and eye at the plate. He's tried to work himself into the Jays philosophy of taking pitches, working the count, and trying to draw a walk to get on base. One of the reasons the organization is high on Smith is because of his attitude and the progress he has made with everything the organization has asked him to work on.
Speed: Smith has average speed. He does have the ability to steal a handful of bases when pitchers fall asleep and forget about him on the base paths.
Defense: The 25-year-old has played both corner outfield position. He can play right field and has a solid arm for the corner. His range is decent and he will not hurt a team out on the field.
Projection: Smith could find his way as a fifth outfielder/pinch hitter with the right organization. He will not break through as a starter at first, but that can't be ruled out down the road because of his desire and work ethic.
ETA: Smith will begin the 2008 season with Syracuse but has others in front of him on the depth chart which makes an ETA for 2008 highly unlikely. The most likely scenario for Smith is spending the entire 2008 season with Syracuse.
Scouting Jays Prospect #37- David Smith
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